Spirituality typically promotes ideas of peace, bliss, and inner calm.
But a new study claims that people who have spiritual and religious views are more likely to become aggressive and violent when drunk, compared to people without such beliefs.
A U.S. psychologist also claimed that in many cases, the stronger the person’s views, the more hostile and aggressive they are when drinking.
The correlation was discovered by Professor Peter Giancola of University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences.
He said: ‘Oversimplifying – in many cases the more religious someone is, the more aggressive they will become after drinking alcohol.’
The researcher and his former graduate student, Aaron Duke, defined a spiritual person as someone who ‘finds meaning in the sacred,’ regardless of the doctrine they follow.
Professor Giancola said he was originally trying to create a profile of risk factors to predict alcohol-related violence.
He examined 520 people aged between 21 and 35 years old from the central Kentucky region.
Participants in the study were randomly given an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink, after being quizzed on the degree of their spiritual beliefs.
Professor Giancola found that violence decreased as spirituality increased in people who didn’t drink alcohol.
But, he said he was surprised to discover that violence increased as spirituality increased in people who drank alcohol.
He continued that the study indicated alcohol ‘releases the beast within’ in highly religious people, although the reasons for this are unknown.
However, the psychologist also pointed out that his findings are preliminary and require further work to verify and explain them.